Lorien Engineering Solutions (LES) has a staff of more than sixty specialists who design and deliver manufacturing capital projects in brewing, drinks, food, industrial and pharmaceutical production environments. Working for many of the world’s top manufacturing organisations within the UK and overseas, they were recently awarded a President’s Award for occupational health and safety in construction by R0SPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents).
LES director, Bill Treddenick, says “We had a quite manual and labour intensive time and expense booking system in which the same data was entered multiple times.” This process involved entry into Excel, consolidation to Access and then further analysis in Excel again. As with many manual systems, finding people who had not entered their time and chasing them wasn’t easy and added further burden to the system.
Treddenick continues, “We also had an Access-based document register that was not ‘intelligent’ and our concern was that we had knowledge locked in the Company that couldn’t be easily accessed unless you knew a great deal of information on a large number of projects.” The document registers were not being maintained since only two people had access rights to the register. Over time, this led to quality assurance issues on document version control and some documents escaping registration as more people made demands on the system. Eventually, two registers were maintained separately: one for short form documents and the other for drawings.
“We wanted to eliminate the entry time, and the chasing of people for timesheets,” says Treddenick. “We also needed to unlock the project knowledge, and have all staff maintain the register, rather than one or two in the past.”
LES implemented Ultrasoft Document Management System (DMS) and UltraSoft Time Management System (TMS), linking them as an integrated system. They also utilised UltraSoft Technology’s consultants to assist with training and deployment.
Lorien’s own IT resources installed the system and super-users were identified to familiarise staff with the software and customise it. The implementation for UltraSoft DMS took 16 weeks from order to going live and a further ten weeks for full UltraSoft TMS integration. These periods included durations of parallel operation with the replaced systems.
- Time saving
The time savings handling timesheets is substantial, and more than was anticipated. In addition, duplicate entry of cost data into a MS Access system has been eradicated through a direct feed from UltraSoft TMS. Staff reported favourably that reports can be run when required, on demand, rather than prepared three days following a period end. While there was a small hard core of late completers of timesheets, this is a great reduction on than the time before the implementation of TMS. These people are also easily identified and chased via email. In addition, the majority of staff are completing their time records on time (i.e. by lunchtime on Monday) and are completing their time records as they execute tasks. Finally searches for information like a contact’s telephone number had been made simple since client and contractor details are held on DMS.
- Better project control through accurate management reporting
Project managers reported that they were able to get a more accurate picture of current costs, as people are now keeping both time and expense records up to date. This was turning out to be particularly valuable for the control of small projects.
- Document retrieval and update
Previous to implementing UltraSoft DMS, Lorien’s staff deposited documents in project folders and sub-folders on a hard drive. Retrieval of documents through Explorer was onerous and awkward. However, users reported that UltraSoft DMS was a big improvement; citing that being able to see the author’s name and the smart use of key words and folders which act as filters are great help. In addition, previously it was easy to update the wrong version of a document, but now this problem has largely gone. Clearer information as to the status of a document avoids superseded documents being edited.
Treddenick estimates that the net savings year on year average around £60,000pa. “This system largely paid for itself in its first year,” Treddenick says.
- UltraSoft DMS & UltraSoft TMS Integrated documents, projects, customers, timesheet and expense management system.
- Easy set up.
- Time and cost savings.
- Early return on investment.
- Improved document control.
- Automated business processes.
- More timely and accurate reporting.
- UltraSoft Consulting for training and deployment